SAN BERNARDINO — The idea was to have students from Yasuda Women’s University in Hiroshima, Japan, come to Cal State San Bernardino to improve their English skills and to foster knowledge and understanding of the American culture.
Now, 25 years later, the Study Abroad for Yasuda Students program, or STAYS, has become a staple of CSUSB’s College of Extended Learning.
Since its inception, about 2,000 Yasuda University female students have come to Cal State San Bernardino for the five-month program, which combines academic instruction consisting of English language and culture, going on cultural trips and staying with host families.
“We are very proud of our long and fruitful partnership that dates back to 1988, when the first group of Yasuda students arrived at CSUSB,” said Tatiana Karmanova, dean of the College of Extended Learning. “In 1990, CSUSB and Yasuda University became sister universities and a visiting Yasuda delegation received the key to the city of San Bernardino.”
Karmanova said the relationship between the two universities continues to grow as the program expands and develops new components.
“This year, our 25th anniversary, marks yet another major benchmark for STAYS,” Karmanova said. “We have 113 students, the largest group of Yasuda English language majors participating in the study abroad program at Cal State San Bernardino.”
The students arrived on Sept. 9 last year and will be returning to Japan on Feb. 5.
The program’s 25th anniversary will also be commemorated in Japan. Two of the program’s current students, Kyoko Okamoto and Nozomi Muramatsu, will be interviewed by journalists from AERA magazine in Japan.
The reporters will be at CSUSB for a week-long visit to observe four of the students’ classrooms, visiting the homes of the students’ host families and interviewing instructors, staff and Karmanova, along with other university administrators.
The program has become significant because global education is becoming an increasingly important component of higher education, and Yasuda University is providing an excellent opportunity for its students to gain this valuable experience, Karmanova said.
“Besides developing students’ English language skills, the program offers an opportunity to stay with local families and to gain insight into American family life, to better understand our culture,” Karmanova said. “We hope that our program will serve as a starting point on a longer learning journey that the students are undertaking in learning about the world.”
The program’s courses include composition, cross-cultural communication, global studies, theatrical arts, history, public speaking and business English. The field trips included outings to San Francisco, Sea World, the Los Angeles County Fair, Hollywood, South Coast Plaza, Universal Studios, Disneyland and the Palm Springs Art Museum.
Visit the Study Abroad for Yasuda Students website at http://cel.csusb.edu/yasudaCenter.html for more information.